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This I Believe: The Art Of Tree Hugging

Carter Staley / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS
Annie Sherrick - Springfield High School

Soil coats my hands and a sun beats down on me. I've spent hours now in the September sun. My pants are covered in mud and I can feel the sunburn start to develop on my shoulders, but as I look back it all seems worth it. Over a hundred piles of turned up earth resides on damp ground. It may not look like much now, but in a decade these trees will tower over our property in a massive forest of powerful oaks.

My family has planted over 20,000 trees on our 108-acre home on the outskirts of Springfield, Illinois. Although 20,000 may seem like an insurmountable number, each tree has played a part in forming my life and the lives of the people and creatures around me. Every tree, even the smallest sapling, grew to make a difference in lives of others. This is why I believe everyone should take a part in planting a tree. You never know what difference it might make. The few apple trees planted when I was a child now provide warm cinnamon pies every fall. A large cherry tree was cut down and became the table my grandfather made for our home. The small evergreen was cut to fill our house with holiday spirit and be decorated with strands of glowing light.

The sugar maples are made to be worn dry from deer's shedding antlers, the white spruce, a home to the tawny barred owl to raise its chirping offspring. The many hedge apple trees cut down then became firewood in the harsh winter months. The weeping willow my father planted as a sapling provided me with a make-believe fairy tale land as a child.

By planting trees I have learned responsibility, I have learned to give back, but most importantly I have learned to appreciate and respect nature and the world around us. I believe everyone should plant a tree and that everyone should appreciate and give back to the beautiful creation that gives so much to those around it.

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